Certified Annuity Specialist

What is a Certified Annuity Specialist and why does it matter?

We are excited to announce, as of May 2016, Darren Vilardo of DaVinci Wealth has completed all requirements for the Certified Annuity Specialist ® (CAS®) designation offered by the Institute of Business & Finance (IBF). The CAS® is the only nationally recognized annuity designation which focuses on various aspects of traditional fixed-rate, equity indexed and variable annuities. CAS® certification requires mastery of contract structure, tax ramifications, strategies, income structuring, and principals of asset allocation.

Darren Vilardo has earned the Certified Annuity Specialist designation and is certified to assist will all Annuities in Prescott

Because several trillions of dollars are invested in annuities, education in this area is important us and we are proud to have a clear understanding of these products for our clients.

Annuities are often sold because they have appealing guarantees or investment structure however these products are typically quite complicated and many times the financial salespeople who sell them do not have proper education the many aspects of this product. For example, it is estimated by the IBF that at least one third of all annuity contracts are not titled correctly.



CAS® stands for Certified Annuity Specialist ®. CAS® is a professional financial services designation granted by the Institute of Business & Finance (IBF) to those who have the following traits:


Each advisor must pass a series of exams and a written case study. All designees must complete continuing education requirements each year. Each student must meet experience and/or educational criteria.


Certified Annuity Specialist ® candidates must complete a comprehensive advanced program designed to educate the advisor on every aspect of traditional fixed-rate, equity-indexed and variable annuities as well as portfolio construction and contract titling.


All graduates must sign the IBF Code of Ethics and agree to adhere to the IBF Standards of Practice, both of which place the client’s interests above those of the advisor and parent company.


Well over a million people provide annuity advice; less than 1% of them have earned the CAS® designation.



A Certified Annuity Specialist ® (CAS®) is an educated, experienced and qualified professional committed to the well being of you, your family and your business. The CAS® can provide basic and advanced guidance on a wide range of actively and passively managed annuities. With the help and knowledge of a CAS®, you can:

  • Create a Sound Financial Solution
  • Analyze your current situation
  • Develop goals and objectives
  • Design an investment plan
  • Implement a strategy based on your risk level
  • Recognize the use of modern portfolio theory (MPT)


  • Increase Your Portfolio
  • Understand the role of equities and debt instruments
  • Determine which investments are appropriate
  • Utilize low-cost solutions to maximize returns
  • Establish a review and rebalancing schedule
  • Review tax reduction strategies


  • Enhance Your Retirement
  • Consider investments with guarantees
  • Balance for risk-adjusted return maximization
  • Structure tax-advantaged income streams
  • Minimize portfolio volatility


  • Protect Your Estate
  • Proper account titling for your protection
  • Provide for income and principal preservation
  • Reduce or eliminate what may be subject to probate
  • Ensure a speedy and simple transition
  • Protect specific loved ones



The CAS® designee’s mission is to gain a complete understanding of your goals and objectives. The CAS® will help identify and develop the strategies, techniques and vehicles that best meet your needs.

The process used by the CAS® involves data gathering as well as advanced knowledge of over three dozen investment categories, domestic and foreign integration, performance and risk evaluation, asset allocation, modern portfolio theory and post-MPT theory, realistic expectations, tax efficiency and retirement plans. The CAS® can also help you establish and monitor a financial plan utilizing basic and advanced strategies.

The CAS® Advisor:

  • Pledges to put your interests above all else.
  • Keeps abreast of industry standards, new strategies and legislation.
  • Conducts all activities with the highest standards of integrity and honesty.
  • Performs investment services in a competent and economical manner.
  • Offers advice only in areas in which he or she has competence.
  • Uses the CAS® marks in compliance with FINRA and IBF.